‘Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enter’: Dover Dodd’s Dantian Comedy


The website has one of those catchy names that compels you to click Doverliarsrevealed.com. 

It features mug shot-like photos of local political activists and a “Crooked Family Tree.”

This may seem like the work of a local rabble-rouser, but it is not.

It was created by Dover Mayor James P. Dodd.

Here’s why:

“This website was borne from necessity, the necessity to shine the light of truth on the vicious lies, rumors and fabrications spread by corrupt individuals who claim that they have the Town of Dover’s best interests at heart.”

That’s the introduction.

Read further and you see all types of negative information about his political opponents.

And that seems to be just the beginning.

“More will be revealed …Our future is at stake,” the web site says.

The mayor is even asking the public to send him information.

Dover is an anomaly of sorts in Republican Morris County. It’s more ethnically diverse and not nearly as affluent as the county itself.

It’s also solidly Democratic.

Politics here is often bruising. If they can’t fight the opposition party, politicians have a habit of fighting among themselves.

That long has happened in Dover, but things seem to be spinning out of control after three candidates opposed by the mayor won Democratic nominations for the board of aldermen in the June primary. Their election in November is a certainty.

Contested primaries are common, but the animosity often simmers down after a few weeks. Not here.

You want proof?

A few weeks ago, Dominic Timpani, a former alderman and one of those featured negatively on Dodd’s website, came to a meeting and accused the mayor of once using the “N-word” in referring to an African-American on the board

Police removed him.

Timpani was back at this week’s meeting. He apologized for using the racial slur in public, but Dodd was not buying it.

“You are a disgrace to the community,” the mayor said.

Timpani wanted to return to the microphone to speak again, but was not allowed.

Others suggested the mayor was peeved because his candidates lost in the primary.

Not so. Dodd insisted that he was upset at how they lost, contending that his opponents spread lies, misinformation and maligned town employees.

Aside from his personal web page, Dodd is using the town’s web page to complain about “revenge-minded individuals who have ulterior motives.”

It’s hard to see how this will play out down the road.

Dodd by the way is on the outs with the Morris County Democratic Committee, which gave the party line to his opponents in the primary.

Dodd said he never has been active in county politics.

A greater problem may have been his endorsement of Chris Christie for reelection in 2013. Dodd does have some cover here. He was hardly alone.

Many Democrats, who were obviously convinced Christie was going to win, abandoned their party and their own candidate, Barbara Buono.

Dodd is up for reelection in 2019. And it certainly seems likely he will run again, which would set up an interesting primary next June.

Dodd is proud to have brought about $59 million in ratables to Dover, saying the town is in good shape.

He says he knows there will come a time for him to turn control over to others, but not now.

“These people are not the right people,” he says of his opponents.

In what may be a fitting – although over the top – symbol of Dover politics these days, Dodd’s website includes a famous quote from no less a literary icon than Dante.

It’s on the site in the original Latin.

“Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’intrate.”

The modern translation is “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”

Dante, of course, was talking about hell, not Dover.

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